CHICAGO — Three men from Aurora are facing felony gun charges after they were allegedly seen posing for pictures with two firearms and doing donuts at a Chicago boat ramp. Two of them were released from custody the next day. The other spent a week in jail before a judge finally released him.
It all started as a Chicago Police Department surveillance camera team watched live video of the Richard J. Daley boat ramp, 3150 South Western Avenue, early December 29. The spot is popular with stunt drivers who like to do burnouts and spin donuts on the ramp.
As the officers monitored the video, they saw “multiple vehicles, including a black Infiniti, spinning circles at the boat ramp. Three men who were in the car were also seen posing for pictures with a pair of guns that had large, distinctive ammunition magazines, according to prosecutors.
The Infiniti was heading for the exit when patrol cars arrived.
When the driver of the car, allegedly 19-year-old Damian Bello, saw the cops, he “widened his eyes, dropped his jaw, and grabbed the gear shifter in a panicked manner,” an officer wrote in his arrest report.
He slammed his Infiniti into reverse, drifted to the side, accelerated onto a gravel road, hit a ramp, and flew onto some nearby railroad tracks, the report continued. He tried to drive away with his car straddling the tracks, but the Infiniti was severely damaged and became disabled, the officer wrote.
Bello and two passengers, Ronald Benitez, 19, and Adrian Hernandez, 20, all of Aurora, were arrested.
Police said they found two handguns lying in some gravel, about 15 feet from where the Infiniti stopped. One gun had a loaded, clear, 31-round ammunition magazine attached, and the other had a black 31-round magazine decorated with a D’Usse Cognac logo.
Prosecutors said the guns’ unusual ammunition magazines were identifiable on CPD surveillance video.
Railroad officials told police that three trains were delayed over an hour because an Infiniti stalled out on the rails.
All three men are charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Bello is also charged with attempting to elude and reckless driving.
Judge Maryam Ahmad detained Bello as a public safety threat and a flight risk the next day. The other two men were released to await trial.
On Friday, Judge Lindsay Huge released Bello after his defense attorney filed a motion to reconsider pretrial release. The motion said that because Bello lives in Kane County, he was not eligible to participate in the Cook County electronic monitoring program when Ahmad reviewed the case.
Since then, his uncle, who lives in Berwyn, has agreed to take him in. The lawyer also noted that Bello’s only criminal background is a felony criminal damage to property case.